This is the Springs, not Oakland, I snorted.
So I looked at Forbes’ criteria. It started with metropolitan areas of 250,000 or more and looked at the FBI’s crime data for 2010. Forbes then ranked each city’s rate of violent crime — murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault — per 100,000 residents. (There are some big omissions because Chicago and other cities did not submit complete reports to the FBI.)
From the 72 metro areas with complete FBI reports, Forbes then factored in traffic-fatality data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Forbes averaged it all out and, POOF, the Springs metro area of El Paso and Teller counties ranked eighth.
According to the FBI report, the Pikes Peak region area had 462 violent crimes per 100,000 residents in 2010. That’s based on a population of 626,259.
By comparison, if you pull Oakland out of the San Francisco Bay Area metro report, it had 1,532 violent crimes per 100,000, based on a population of 409,723.
That is far higher than even Detroit, which ranked No. 1 on Forbes’ “Most Dangerous Cities” list in October. Detroit had 1,111 violent crimes per 100,000.
While I was not surprised at our relatively low violent crime rate, I was shocked by our ranking as a safe place to drive. The Springs’ car fatality rating was 11th overall.
Not so, says Forbes and the highway safety folks.
Our region had just 43 traffic fatalities in 2010. That’s up from 33 in 2006 but it’s still far fewer than the rest of the nation.
Consider Pueblo’s rate of 11.91 per 100,000 residents is nearly double the El Paso County rate of 6.54. (See earlier snarky comment about living in Pueblo.)
Forbes explained that its safest cities shared several characteristics: wealth, civic involvement, heavily used public spaces like parks, shopping districts and museums, and a strong tax based that invests in public safety and police.
It’s easy to find things to criticize and the Springs has its share of problems.
But maybe it isn’t such a bad place after all. Ya think?